Monday, August 20, 2018

Watering Hole Etiquette

Perhaps the most famous of Abyssinian elephants was “Jumbo.” Captured by Arab traders in 1861, and after trading hands several times, he wound up in England, before he was purchased by P.T. Barnum, resulting in a great public outcry in Victorian England. Eventually, he was moved to the U.S. He died in 1885 after being hit by a train. – Photo from “Poor Dear Jumbo”: Elephants, Empire and Empathy in Victorian Britain – Describing actions of the Victorian public after the popular elephant was first sold... “To ease Jumbo’s pain, zoo visitors regaled the elephant with copious cakes and pastries, either delivering these treats in person or sending them in the post. ‘Some nurses at a London hospital’ sent Jumbo a ‘box containing sponge-cakes and gingerbread’. Another female – ‘one who rode on your back as a child’ – forwarded Jumbo a generous slice of her wedding cake, a delicacy with symbolic resonance, since Jumbo himself was about to be separated from his ‘little wife’, the female elephant Alice. ‘May you enjoy my wedding cake’, read the accompanying letter, ‘and never have to part from your Alice’. Other Britons demonstrated their solidarity with Jumbo in even more bizarre ways. A lady whose husband had recently died sent ‘a parcel of crape and widow’s weeds’ to Alice, ‘that she might mourn over her bereavement’. One man christened his son ‘Jumbo’ in the elephant’s honour, while another more practical individual sent Jumbo ‘a box 2 feet square, full of corrective pills’ to prevent nausea during his transatlantic voyage.”
Stand Aside for Elephants
Animals of the Jungle Have Well-Recognized Etiquette Observed at Drinking Places

A moving picture firm has been taking some remarkable pictures at a watering-hole in Abyssinia of animals which come there from miles around to quench their thirst. It is the etiquetteof the Jungle for the elephant to drink first. No matter how many animals are around the water-hole, they all stand aside for the greatest beast of all. Many of the animals come 40 or 50 miles for a drink, and there is a truce between even the most deadly enemies. After the elephant, comes the rhinoceros. Although most of the other animals observe the water-hole truce faithfully, two rhinos will fight over their precedence. 

The cinematograph operator obtained wonderful pictures of two of these huge animals going at it hammer and tongs. The fight only ended with one of the animals being killed. When the rhinoceros had finished, the giraffes drink their fill, followed by zebras. Zebras always travel is herds, and sometimes 40 or 50 will arrive at the water-hole at a time. According to the etiquette of the jungle, however, they only come in fourth for the drinking stakes. The first foul animals are mixed in order, but the rest get a drink just how and when they can. —Pearson’s Weekly, 1912

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia 

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